THE 39 STEPS. The Red path holds a lot of happy memories for many Limerick people. In droves on a Summer's day, people walked, ran, hopped, skipped, jumped and cycled down the 39 steps on their way to the swimming pool (Corbally Baths).
Former Toll House (Lahiff's Shop), how it looks today with extension.
Former Toll House. Lahiff's Shop 1950's. For those who had a few pence to spend, a visit to Lahiff's shop to buy sweets or ice cream was a great treat, before making a descent down the 39 Steps of the Red Path or making their way across Athlunkard Bridge to the Church Fields.
Toll House and Gate at Limerick side of Athlunkard Bridge, Corbally. There was a toll of a half penny to anyone coming into Limerick from Clare by foot, one penny if travelling by horse and cart. The bridge was declared toll free on 28th April 1884.
At the end of the steps there is a magnificent view of the mighty 5 arch cut limestone Athlunkard Bridge. It was designed and built by Pain brothers architects to connect Limerick with Clare. The building of the bridge commenced 1826, completed in 1830 at a cost of £7,000
Red Path Entrance Gate. One of the two cast iron gates at the entrance to the Red Path, just before Lahiff's shop.
St. Munchin's College is on the left as you go down the Red Path. In 1850 it was the estate of Pierce Shannon, after that the residence of the Catholic Bishop's. In April 1960 the foundation stone was laid for the new college and in August 1963 it was officially opened. Funds for the College were raised in different ways, I remember in particular the waster paper collection and the trucks coming down the Mill Road, loaded down with tons of paper to be stored in the outhouses, (now gone), opposite the old stables
Across the river on the Clare shore is Shannon Banks housing estate. Before the houses it was known as the Church Fields, a place much frequented by Limerick people for picnics and swimming.
CORNEEN ISLAND. The little island in the middle of the river just downstream from Athlunkard Bridge was called "Corneen" (Cairnin) by the Abbey fishermen, meaning little hill or small round heap.
KENNEDY BRIDGE. A short distance along the Red Path at the bend, there is a small archway, this was the first arch of an attempt to build a bridge across the river by a wealthy Limerick banker named Kennedy. This project was later abandoned in favour of the more ambitious plans for Athlunkard Bridge.
Cast iron boundary marker at Kennedy Bridge.
The little silent woods next to Kennedy Bridge, where the birds do not sing, not a sound, not even a chirp.
Safety railings in place on Red Path 1950's.
Red Path and river Shannon just below Athlunkard Bridge frozen over 1963, St. Munchins College in the background.
The Mill Dam, opposite Corbally Swimming Pool, built to direct water to Corbally Mills farther downstream.
THE FOOTBRIDGE, photo 2013
The Red Path from the millrace footbridge near Corbally Baths down to the footbridge over the Mill Stream, was known as Gabbett's Grove. It got its name from Poole Gabbett who lived in Corbally House, now the Nursing Home. When Gabbett's came into possession of the Mill they made many improvements including the planting of glorious beech trees beside the Mill Race, hence the name Gabbett's Grove.
In the 1950's and 60's the bridge was a great spot for picnics and swimming. In spite of it having the name of lamprey eels and a bit of a fast current, non swimmers and struggling swimmers were able to pop into the water, do a bit of kicking and splashing and hold onto the Mill Dam for safety.
Old footbridge over Mill Race near Corbally Baths 1960's. (Photo courtesy of Pat Howell/Pat Lysaght)
Block House, near the footbridge on the Red Path, built during the second World War to protect the Ardnacrusha Power Station. Another one can be seen on the Green at the end of the Mill Road.
The old Millrace footbridge near Corbally Baths, 1950's.
Fishing at Mill Race, Gabbett's Grove (Red Path).